Some thoughts based on my experience to look for when I hire a new person.

I always look for people who have big dreams, have big ideas. During an interview I am not only interested in their “hard skills” but even more in their “soft skills”. I ask them about their opinion of business models, the daily news, I watch how they treat others in the office and how they think about trends and very often I learn something new myself.

  1. First I want to know what they read and why they read certain books or articles. That gives me an idea of who they are. If one only read business literature he/she probably is not very well rounded and might not be balanced enough for the unexpected. I really want to see if they are curious to explore new topics and “hungry” to learn more, that is not necessarily in the center of their interest now.
  2. Work life balance – In my opinion being balanced is a key element to be successful so I will ask a candidate about what he/she does, activities, hobbies, points of interest etc. If they have nothing to say and just talk about work I am not interested in them.
  3. Knowledge and understanding about our company and culture are fundamental. I want to know if they are well prepared and did their homework. I want to know what they admire most in our company and where they see room for improvement. This question also shows me that they are really interested in our company and the candidates might also tell me the truth why they left or got fired at their current company. I don’t judge them based on their ideas of improving our company.
  4. Success and Failures. I am particularly interested to learn about projects that did not work out and why. I can see if they are humble, team workers or just blame anybody or anything else.
  5. I want to see that people are driven by something and have some entrepreneurial DNA. To find this out I will ask the candidates to tell me one or two ideas of a start up they could envision. Anything not even related to our business. The answer gives me a feeling if they are creative and communicate an idea or thought well.
  6. Financial Thinking is not just for the CFO. I want to know if they get the basics and are responsible with company assets so I will ask the following question: If you get 1 Million how would you invest/utilize that amount of money so it will generate a sustainable income and multiply over times.
  7. I will ask a candidate if he or she does have any questions. I expect tons of question related to the challenges (not to the salary/compensation initially). If a candidate does not bombard me with questions I am getting worried and shows me that a salary is more important than the challenge.
  8. I want to know how they keep maintain existing knowledge so I ask “How do you learn/keep yourself up to date?” This is key to see if a person does not only leverage experience from the past also stays informed, about economy and technology.
  9. Personal Behavior. I will check with the receptionist, the assistant anybody in our organization how they were treated by the candidate. I want nice and humble people working for us.
  10. Technical Knowledge. Throughout the interview I will ask questions about Finance, Marketing, Production, Engineering depending the job. They must be fit in their area of expertise but that is only 10% of the interview time. I can find this out by reading the CV and the former positions they held.